Thursday, December 8, 2011

here I am...

I said in my last post that I would be blogging more...that never happened and I am ok with that.  There has been just enough time in a day for class, homework, family, cleaning, sleeping and working that blogging just had to go.

The amount of information they have stuffed in our brains these first 16 weeks has been amazing.  I have learned numerous tasky things (foley catheters, trach suctioning, hanging IV bags, passing meds, oxygenating patients, doing bed baths, ambulating patients...etc) plus how to do a full assessment on a patient.  LOVE the assessment part.  I still am a little shy about making my patients let me do an assessment...I am too nice and when they say/act like they aren't interested...I waffle.  I get the required vitals, breath sounds, bowel sounds, heart sounds ect...but the extra neuromuscular stuff....I let them rest.  I have to admit, the patients are soooo sick!  Not one of my patients has been an easy case.  They have multiple disease processes going on, dozens of meds, and multiple teams of doctors.  I have loved seeing and learning more about how the healthcare machine works/doesn't work.  Some of my favorite things are reviewing lab values, going through the chart and seeing the journey of the patient's health-where they have come, what has happened, how they have been treated, what has worked, what hasn't, and where they are going...the plans and goals for the patient.  I have been on a Med/Surg floor this semester with one patient for 5 hours (with my instructor and an RN there if I have questions) and next semester I will be doing Psych and another Med/Surg rotation with up to 4 patients for 12 hours! I am also starting as a float tech at the hospital in a paid position working as a nurses assistant in various departments based on hospital needs and acuity levels.  I will be doing that 16 hours a week.  Next semester will be REALLY busy, but hopefully it will fly by like this semester has!  I still do not know where my interests lie...hopefully being a float will help me see the ins and outs of different departments.  The ED was ok.  I don't think that I am supposed to be an ED nurse.  With the MDs always there writing orders and discharges...there wasn't a lot of time for assessment by the nurse other than initial vitals...then they would just do IVs and meds...set a splint or two.  I like the critical thinking part of it all, and it just didn't seem like it was there...lots of walking...yes...maybe I need to become an NP...hmmmm

Thursday, September 22, 2011

1 month down-19 months to go

 Here I month in.

First off...I am loving what I am learning.  

We have covered the nursing diagnosis (ADPIE) process, patient safety, bathing, wound care, vital signs, skin assessment, health history...some of the basics.  I have my skin assessment check off in the morning.  This consists of doing an assessment on my lab partner of all parts of the body except for the breast and genital areas.  Some may feel weird about assessing someone or feel weird about being assessed...but I think it is so fun!  We have gone through our first round of exams and I am doing really well.  The first exams were on really broad topics and I felt like there was no real way to prepare well for the exams...but in the end, I did just fine.  One thing that I am having to get used to is Team Based Learning and multiple group projects.  They are trying to teach us how to work well as part of a team and how to rely upon others for information (apparently, we can't know it all!).  We have had a few quizzes were we take the quiz together-each of us bringing a bit of knowledge.  I am not used to having to rely on someone else for part of MY grade.  It has it's pros, though.  I am getting to know the people in my cohort really well.  

I will try to post more often...when there is a free minute...but when they said Accelerated BSN...they meant it!  

One month down....just 19 to go :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just tired

Some days, no matter how much I try, I can't get energized.  I'm tired.

My husband is working a killer 7 days a week...only 2 more weeks (I HOPE!) which means there is no real down time to relax for either of us.  Managing the house, my son, school is on me and it is never ending.  S is working so hard, so I can't nag at him that I need a break, because he needs a break too!  I can't wait for his current weekend project to be done so that I can have him around the house to relax some...even just to watch a movie or something.  N can sense that we are stressed and I feel bad about that.  He is only 3...but is it too much to as a 3 year old to play independently for just a few minutes while I try to get my Statistics homework done?  It probably is...I am his playmate after all...a bad one at that.  I did pick up some water colors last week and we have been having a good time doing that.  It is fun for him and a stress reliever for me. 

Taking 2 classes right now is killer one should ever sign up for a 6 week Statistics class...the things I do for an online option so that I don't have to find child care...only 3 more weeks...yes just 3.  GOOD.  Saturday night I took my first Psych exam.  It was 52 questions and we had 50 minutes.  I was not prepared...I had lazily skimmed the chapters to complete the discussions, quizzes and papers and will be fine. was a lot harder than I thought and I was having to look up a lot of stuff...ok...every question.  So...less than one minute a question.  Needless to say, I ran out of time and didn't finish some of the questions.  I had about 7 questions left and N started crying in his bed.  I tried to ignore it for about 2-3 minutes thinking he would fall back asleep.  But the cries got louder, and exam or not, I had to go and comfort him.  My "sshhh, sshhh.  Go back to sleep.  You're ok."  was not good enough.  I gave him a kiss on the forehead and he was on fire...FEVER!  Perfect timing!  Where is his dad??? Oh, yeah...working.  So, I picked him up, brought him out to the couch with me and tried to finish my exam...TIME OVER.  Oooops. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Even Better!!!! Accepted ABSN!!!!!!!!!!!!

It paid off.  I got into my number one choice...the ABSN program at my alma mater.  I saw the mailman stuffing the box at about 11am this morning and immediately threw my shoes on and ran to the box.  I saw a big envelope from the school and screamed and jumped.  Big envelopes are a good sign!!  I ran inside to my waiting 3 year old (who was sad that I didn't put his shoes on to go out to the mailbox) and did a little happy dance in the middle of the kitchen with him.  I then ripped it open to read the "Congratulations."  And that is all I needed :)  N was so excited because I was so excited that he proceeded to rip open all the mail and yell and scream in excitement with each bill and piece of junk mail.  What a happy way to begin the holiday weekend.
I already faxed over my acceptance letter and began to get all my immunization records in order.  I have an appointment on Tuesday for some boosters and a Hep B shot (the beginning of 3 that I need).

THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!!!  I need to call the ASN to tell them to give my spot to someone else, but I am going to wait until Tuesday for it all to sink in.

I am going to be an RN.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Accepted into ASN!!

Good News!  I am going to become an RN one way or another.  I got into my second choice, the community college ASN program.  I am very happy to have been accepted and will go there if I hear bad news from the ABSN program at the university.  Fingers still crossed and still stalking the mailbox.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is it to be or not to be...

The ASN program campuses have started to send out their letters...

Now starts the nervous/excited walks to the mailbox daily.  Today, nothing.  Tomorrow...we'll see!
I finished Advanced Physiology and Microbiology with the A's I needed for the ABSN program, so I feel pretty confident about my chances.  It is amazing how competitive it is!  I have just over a 3.9 and it isn't even a sure thing.

I started summer school and I am actually thinking it isn't going to be as bad as I thought.  I have a 6 weeks Statistics of Business and Economics class that I thought was going to be horrible, but so far so good.  I have had one test already and did just fine.  It takes some time for the concepts and all the symbols to sink in, but once they do, it really is pretty easy.  I hope it stays that way!

The Lifespan Development class I am taking seems really easy.  There is a lot of busy work, but none of it is too bad.  This week, for example, I have 3 quizzes, 3 forum posts, a web activity, a writing assignment, a syllabus quiz, and an exam.  Even with all isn't too bad.

I spent today looking around at some more daycare centers for my son for the fall.  One I went to didn't seem too bad and the other smelled like pee (crossed that one off!).  I am so lucky that he is so excited about going to school...he is practically begging me to take him.  When we are visiting these places, he wants to stay and never leave and tells me he loves it soooo much.  I am glad.

The other thing I have been working on is speaking Italian with him.  I am not sure when I stopped.  When he was a baby, I only spoke Italian and then somewhere along the line, I stopped.  Now that he is talking, he is speaking only English.  He understands Italian and responds appropriately in English....but anyway.  I felt pretty guilty that I let that happen.  He is with me 99% of the time, so I can't rely on my husband to teach him.  So, I have been speaking Italian as close to 100% of the time as I can and amazingly, in a few days, he is already saying more words.  He should pick it up just fine as long as I am diligent.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

keep truckin'

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post.  I have been terribly, terribly busy.  I have been pounded for the past few weeks with exams and other responsibilities that I have not had a moment to reflect.  I fellow classmate asked me to help her study for exams, so tutoring her took some of my time.  I wish she would have done better than she did...I feel someone responsible that her grades were not better, but I know I did my best.  I got an A in Microbiology and provided I pass my AP final, I will also get an A in there.  That final is on Saturday.

I have also been busy trying to learn how another school systems, email, books, online courses, bursar etc.  I am taking 2 classes over the summer at another school to finalize the co-requisites for the ABSN program.  I am taking Statistics for Business and Economics and Life Span Development (a psychology class).  I have started looking over the syllabus and the psych class looks like a ton of reading and a number of 4-5 page papers.  The statistics class, on the other hand, looks REALLY hard!  I hope that all the special math symbols and excel format do not give me too much trouble.  I am not proficient in excel at all!  I have used it some, but I am still an newbie. Both my summer classes start a week from tomorrow.  I am on the hunt for the text books and I am downloading new software as we speak to so I can open some of the econ files.  It never ends...

Other than that, in my other life as a wife/mother/sister/ son slammed his head on the coffee table and one eyelid is really swollen.  I was really worried...but he seems fine.  I hate when he gets hurt!!  He is so wild and I tell him he needs to slow down and calm down and the response I get is, "But WHY??"  Well, son,  look at your face.

I am helping my brother move on Friday, going to a volunteer update course today and teaching my best friend how to make the world's best potato leek soup tonight.  I love being busy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Book Review-How to Survive Clinical

I am always on the look out for ideas that can make my life more simple, smoother and just plain easier.  If someone has already been through what I am about to go through, why learn the hard way, right?

I picked this book up the other day at the library.  It was a quick read.  I think I read it cover to cover in a few hours.  What it consists of is quotes from nursing students and instructors about how to study, learn, behave and succeed in nursing school.

One of the sections that was really helpful was the section that talked about getting organized and prepared for your clinical each week.  One great piece of advice was to create a one page sheet with the medications that your patient is taking for quick reference during the day because you are going to refer to it often.  They also talked about making hourly goals during your clinical so that you can stay focused and feel like you are accomplishing something, because at times, the amount of information and distractions can be overwhelming.

Another section talked about nursing school classmates and how it is recommended to try and find someone that is smarter than you to be your nursing school best friend.  You really only need one (maybe two) close friends.  It is not a popularity contest; results are the goal and you want to surround yourself with people that can help you reach that goal and visa versa.  Also recommended is to find an instructor that is a good personality match to your own and the resources and information they can provide is priceless both during nursing school and during the job search and even years down the road.

Another thing I really needed to hear was to not throw anything away...notes, tests, care plans.  There will come a time that you will need to refer to past assignments.  If you have tossed them out, it will make your life that much harder.

All and all it was a good read and a great pep talk for nursing school.  I recommend it!

I put a link to the book in the sidebar.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the science of wellbeing

I have always though that there should be two types of prescriptions; one should be for medicine to alleviate symptoms and one should be for improving health so that these symptoms show up less frequently (or ideally, never again).  One would think that big business insurance companies would be promoting something like this in order to reduce medical claims, but I really don't see anything other than a woman's yearly exam (preventative) or your yearly health physical (which I have not done since grade school, because you had to do it for sports-tisk tisk).  But even then, there is little education going on in the room unless you come prepared with questions for the MD...why is that?  Busy, too many patients, not what they have been trained to do?  At my last yearly, my MD recommended I get a colonoscopy at 40 due to family history.  That was good advice, but what about information on improving my digestive/excretory health.  Diet information, for example.  I am pretty good about doing my own research, but are most people doing this?  I would assume, no.

Could that become part of a nurse's job?  The nurse could present the MD's two prescriptions and then explain.   The nurse could provide web addresses to go to for more information.   I would love to be a wellness nurse.  I think back to when I had my son and the postpartum nurses called my house to check on me.  I thought that was really cool.  They called to see if I had any questions, to see how I was feeling, nursing, recovering.  They made great suggestions and provided resources for breastfeeding difficulties, postpartum depression, and childcare.  The care I received was less about the pain pill medications, but about the mental and overall physical well-being of mom and baby.  Loved it. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

good morning....this is today

I really love mornings.  I would much rather get up early and have to function than stay up all night.  The house is quiet this morning with S and N gone to help my brother work on his house.  S and I already went through a pot of coffee and I don't want to make a full pot just for me, so I am drinking this roasted chicory and barley drink.

It sounds kind of gross, but it really is good.  Too bad it is caffeine free...but it is something nice, nutty and warm and I can make one cup at a time.

This morning I am taking a test over blood values in Advanced Physio.

Normal WBC-7000-10000 cells/um
Normal Female Hemocrit-42% +/- 5% and male 47% +/- 5%
Normal erythrocyte count female 4.2-5.4 million cells/um and male 4.5-6.2 million cells/um

Never Let Monkeys Eat Bananas-
Neutrophils - 50%-70%
Lymphocytes - 20-40%

The ones I am having trouble with are the mean corpuscular hemoglobin, MCV and O2 carrying capacity.  The number values I have memorized.  It is the units of measurement that make no sense to me.  In O2 carrying capacity, the normal is 16-25 ml O2 per dL .  ml just seems wrong, so I am having trouble envisioning it, thus having trouble remembering it. 

This is a bonus quiz.  After this last test (84/100), I am hovering right at about 92%, so hopefully I can get a few points here and bump it up.  We'll see.

One thing that I would love to vent about is the way that some of my classmates compare grades.  I don't run around shouting my grades and never ask anyone else what they scored because it is none of my business.  In this AP class I am taking, it is just like when I was in high school.  One of my classmates happened to be standing right next to me when I was reading my score on the first exam (96/100) and since then he has made it a point to bring me up in conversation with other students how hard they have to work and how easy it is for me.  It really ticks me off.
1. It is not easy for me-I study constantly
2. Grow up.  Stop picking on me
3. Stop being concerned about everybody's grades and focus on your own grades

It is like high school all over again.  I graduated HS at 16 and was always made fun of.  I was picked on so much that I was never proud of the fact that I was a good student.  They would call me "Doogie Howser."

At the time, it really bothered me.  Now...15 years later, it just annoys the crap out of me.

I work really hard for my grades and I am proud of it!